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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  October 31, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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cleveland plain dealer's editorial says "flailing in ohio romney rolls out jeep ploy." say what you want about mr. romney's overall relationship with the truth throughout this campaign. campaign. say he's prone to gaffes or misstatements, call them fibs, call them lies. now that he is finishing his campaign in ohio with a lie about ohio that ohio knows is a lie, you can just call this one a mistake. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. the good news for mitt romney tonight is the massive storm has made everyone forget about his secret tax returns. the bad news for mitt romney is the massive storm has made everyone forget about mitt romney. >> on the ground in the middle of the devastation, president obama will tour new jersey. >> the october surprise, bipartisanship. >> governor chris christie -- >> i cannot thank the president enough. >> -- and president obama -- >> we will not quit until this is done.
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>> together surveying the damage. >> a big storm requires some big government. >> the federal government -- >> it seems like common sense. >> -- will not quit until this is done. >> is there any possibility that governor romney may go to new jersey? >> there is no role for a challenger. >> i have no idea, nor am i the least bit concerned or interested. >> what does a challenger do in a major disaster? >> governor romney, he's back on the trail. >> we come together at times like this. >> back on the trail in florida. >> we love all of our fellow citizens. >> the question that's dogged him -- >> romney's position on fema. >> -- was about fema. >> fema. >> fema. >> fema. >> take something from the federal government and send it back to the states. >> sending disaster management back to the states. >> that's the right direction >> even the private sector. >> that's even better. >> we should privatize everything including fema. >> that's the right direction. that's the right direction. that's the right direction. that's the right direction. >> what's your view of the proper role of federal government? >> a big storm actually requires some big government. >> federal government will not quit until this is done. >> the president has been outstanding this. the president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.
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he's been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election. >> there comes a time when the grown-ups have got to do their jobs. >> if you don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee and we'll lose. >> we begin tonight with the continuing effort to assess the damage and begin the cleanup from hurricane sandy. president obama traveled to new jersey today, the state hardest hit by the massive storm to meet with hurricane victims and state officials led by republican governor chris christie. the two men toured southern new jersey on the ground and from the air over flooded streets, flattened houses and piers washed out to sea. reporters did not accompany the president and governor christie as they flew on marine one, the president's helicopter. governor christie, who had been spending most of his days prior to the storm attacking the president on the campaign trail, today thanked him.
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>> i want to thank the president. we spent a significant afternoon together surveying the damage up and down the new jersey coastline. we have lots of challenges. our challenge now is to get back to normalcy. and i cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state, who suffered some loss. luckily, we haven't suffered that much loss of life. and we thank god for that. this is the worst storm that i've seen in my lifetime in this state. but we cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that i know all new jerseyans have. >> this is a federal, state, and local effort. and the first thing i want to do is just to thank everybody who's been involved in the entire rescue and recovery process. i want to thank all the first responders. the first responders, keep in mind, their homes usually are underwater too. i'm just going to make a couple of comments.
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number one and most important, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones. my second message is we are here for you. and we will not forget. we will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you've rebuilt. >> the number of deaths reported from the storm now stands at 72 people. the number of homes and businesses without power is approximately 6 million. 2/3 of those in new york and new jersey. that includes much of southern manhattan, which remains dark tonight. authorities have also discovered several residents of staten island drowned in their homes. many were alone and in some cases elderly. that brings the number of dead just in new york city to 34. the damage on long island, new york is severe. about 77% of power customers do not have electricity and could remain in the dark for as long as ten days.
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partial subway service is scheduled to resume tomorrow in new york city along with more railway and bus service. and we have new video released by firefighters in greenwich, connecticut showing the conditions during the storm as they tried to put out a massive fire that destroyed multiple homes. in hoboken, new jersey just across the river from manhattan portions of the city remain underwater tonight. the national guard has been brought in to help people stranded in their homes in hoboken. joining me now by phone is nbc news chuck todd, who was traveling with president obama and governor christie today in new jersey. chuck, tell us what the trip felt like. when i look at those two men together, it looks to me as the way that not necessarily on this particular subject but it's the way serious men and women of government want to work together regardless of party.
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and the whole day seemed to have that sensation to it. >> well, it did. and let me tell you something about christie. he just seemed like an exhausted guy. he struck me as somebody who had been up for a couple of straight days, who was numb, a little emotional to what he'd been seeing but also numb to the destruction he'd been seeing. so you know, it was interesting. when the president walked out of air force one there was only one guy to greet him, and it was christie. and then the two of them just immediately, you could tell, were just -- seemed to -- they suddenly became inseparable, and then you never saw more than a foot of actual physical distance between the two of them. you know, they worked the shelter together and all this stuff. so it was a -- it certainly was -- it was business-like, but you could just -- you could feel sort of this emotional exhaustion just watching governor christie. >> let's listen to the president's 15-minute rule
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promise that he made today. >> we're not going to tolerate red tape. we're not going to tolerate bureaucracy. and you know, i've instituted a 15-minute rule essentially on my team. you return everybody's phone calls in 15 minutes. whether it's the mayor's, the governor's, county officials. if they need something, we figure out a way to say yes. >> and chuck, on that video right behind him you see governor christie nodding, smiling, approving of everything that the president is saying out there. it's a scene that was just impossible to conceive even a week ago. >> it is. i mean, to think that the last week of the election the guy that chris christie's hanging out with is obama and not romney. and i can tell you this. chris christie is one of i'd say two or three of the most effective republican surrogates the romney campaign had been using. somebody they had put out on their own. not quite the level of bill clinton for obama but not bad. you know.
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marco rubio and chris christie sort of are the two sort of stars that can get people on their own. and here he is with obama. i tell you, you see him -- here's another sort of fascinating thing to watch. the number of photographs that people asked to take with the two of them, and they kept taking them. what are they going to say? you have these people at the shelter or their homes and they're both emotional, upset, and excited to meet the president and the governor. and here they were posing for pictures together. the two of them. with constituents in new jersey too. that part of it was a little surreal, especially when i sort of remind myself that today's wednesday and election day is, i don't know, not even 200 hours away. >> an extraordinary day. chuck todd, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> you got it. across the river from new york city, hoboken, new jersey
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remains mostly flooded and mostly without power. as much as a foot of water flooded into the city during the storm. that water is receding very slowly after public pleas for help from the mayor of hoboken, the national guard, arrived today to help rescue the most vulnerable of the 20,000 people who have been trapped in their apartments since monday. nbc's katy tur has the latest from hoboken. >> reporter: lawrence, here in hoboken the water has recede a little bit but it's still pretty high in some areas. there are 500 million gallons of water here that they need to pump out. 500 million gallons in just this-square-mile town. they say that half of this town is underwater as we speak. now, they say it will take about two days to do this. they've been pumping all day today. they've got industrial-strength pumpers working at this. they're going to pump all day tomorrow. so maybe by tomorrow it will all be gone. you have to realize that even though you're seeing it at my shins right now and it will go
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down and what looks like maybe it's not flooded anymore, that's not the case. the basements of homes will still be flooded. the water table will still be high. the sewers will still be flooded. so it will take some time to get it out of here. they're saying seven to ten days before there's power back on. that is not anything people want to hear around here. unfortunately, that is the case. they do want people to prepare for at least that. if it gets on any sooner, great. people were able to come out of their homes for the first time today to get a look at the damage, to get a look at the damage and to also get some supplies, walk to the nearest target. they walked to the next town over in jersey city, came back with some supplies so they could stay here. the national guard was here as well. they were getting the elderly and people who needed emergent care out of their homes. the rest of the people, a good majority of them, are staying within their homes tonight. and because of that the national guard also delivered a number of supplies including food and water. the mayor here, though, don zimmer, says they still need a
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lot of help. they need generators. they need boats to help get people out. and they do need food, water, and batteries. the big concern right now other than the flooding and the people that are trapped inside is the water. this is sewage. this is heating oil. this is debris. this is all sorts of nasty stuff that you don't want to touch with your body. they're concerned about it, and they're asking people to try and avoid the water if they can. lawrence, back to you. >> katy tur in hoboken, the birthplace and hometown of frank sinatra. across the river in new york city there is some good news as limited train, bus, and ferry service will resume thursday. but not before another night in the dark for many new yorkers. nbc's anne thompson reports from manhattan's murray hill neighborhood. >> reporter: i'm here at the rare bar and grill where there is power. but let me show you what happens when there is power.
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behind me you can see the bright lights of this world famous skyline, but if you look over here you'll see that a quarter million people remain in the dark for the third straight night. ♪ in new york the haves and have nots are divided by power. for those without, manhattan's new hot spots are any places with power strips to share. >> we have gas. >> reporter: where the buzz is about living in the dark. >> i'm on the lower east side. there's no lights, no power, no nothing. >> reporter: and with little mass transit. >> took five buses to get to downtown brooklyn, walked across the brooklyn bridge because i work in stuyvesant town just to see what was going on. had no idea what happened. >> this station had water filled halfway at the moment but before as much as to the ceiling. >> reporter: with subways still under water, some people took to two wheels. >> it's sort of like the city has in some ways been cut in half right around 40th or 42nd street. >> reporter: most got in their cars and didn't get anywhere fast. we are at 67th and 2nd avenue. our goal is to go 31 blocks south on 2nd avenue. let's see how long it takes.
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the first block took seven minutes. it's going to be a long ride. [ siren ] to ease the gridlock mayor michael bloomberg announced new rules for driving into manhattan over the four east side bridges. >> from 6:00 a.m. to midnight if you're coming into manhattan on one of those bridges you have to have three people in the car. >> reporter: in other parts of the city the situation remains dire. after rooftop evacuations yesterday in staten island rescuers in boats today went house to house in this still submerged neighborhood. >> all of these homes underwater, again, we're talking about a good six, seven, eight, 9, 10, 12 blocks inland, a good mile or so inland. before the water finally recedes over here. >> reporter: here normal seems very far away. but it is slowly returning to parts of manhattan. the symbol of economic power, the new york stock exchange, reopened, running on a generator. and despite some criticism the new york city marathon will go on sunday.
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it brought $340 million to the city last year. >> the bottom line is new york city's lost a lot of revenue the last few days. we've lost a lot of economic activity. we need to restart really quickly for the good of our people. >> reporter: the mayor hopes most of the power will be restored by the time the runners take off sunday morning. in the meantime, new york university had to relocate 6,000 students because there is no power or water in their dorms. while there is progress, there is still plenty of problems. i'm anne thompson in new york city. now back to you. >> anne thompson in manhattan. coming up, more of what it looks like when president obama and new jersey governor chris christie join forces. krystal ball and richard wolffe are here. in the rewrite, we'll show you just how hard it is being mitt romney these days and being utterly irrelevant to the most important story in america. repairing the damage from hurricane sandy. and we'll show you that on
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video. we'll show you just how idiotic mitt romney can be when the anti-fema candidate tries to show his expertise in storm cleanup. this is video that you have got to see. it's in the "rewrite." ♪ chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save.
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they were political opponents just days ago. now they have bonded in tragedy. we'll have more on president obama and governor christie next. and what will happen just six days from now when polls open, or they try to open, in the midst of the cleanup from hurricane sandy? we'll have a look at election mechanics. that's coming up. [ female announcer ] food, meet flavor. flavor, meet food.
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the president of the united states and i have now had six conversations since sunday. that shows to me a level of caring and concern and interest that i think a leader should be giving to this type of situation. this was as comfortable and relaxed an interaction as i've had with the president since i've known him. and i think it's because we're both doing what we wanted to do, which was to get things done. there will be some folks who will criticize me for complimenting him. well, you know what? i speak the truth. that's what i always do. when i got on marine one, i'm pinching myself. believe me. you know, sandy and bill christie's son on marine one was not exactly what i thought was going to be happening with my life. >> that was new jersey governor chris christie at a press conference tonight talking about his new best friend, president obama. today the white house tweeted this photo of president obama and governor christie, studying hurricane damage aboard marine one.
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that photo was then retweeted by governor chris christie. a new "washington post" poll shows that 78% of likely voters rate the president's response to hurricane sandy positively. only 8% rate his response negatively. 44% rate mitt romney's response positively. 21% rate his response negatively. "usa today" asked romney campaign senior adviser russ schiefer this question on a conference call with media today. >> i wonder just in crass political terms if you think the president's response to sandy has been helpful to him, and are you annoyed that governor christie has been so effusive in his praise of the president? >> governor christie's doing his job, and he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing as the governor of new jersey. and the president is doing what he needs to do as president. >> after mitt romney ignored reporters who asked him at least 11 questions on his position on
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fema funding yesterday, mitt romney released this statement today. "i believe that fema plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. as president, i will ensure fema has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters." krystal ball, could you translate what mitt romney actually said about fema? >> very easily. the translation is oh, you like fema? i like fema, too. oh, you don't like fema? no, fema's terrible. that's the translation. >> richard, he seems to be talking about getting money directly to first responders. that would be a sudden interest on mitt romney's part in getting federal money for firefighters and for local police officers, the kind of thing that president obama has done.
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>> he's describing the status quo. but he's also lost his moral -- deep, deep moral concerns about the nature of debt. because that extra funding that these natural disasters cost, we have to go borrow that money. let's face it. and before, when he was running for the nomination, that was a deep, deep concern to him as a question of values because debt as a question of values is more important than helping people in need. by the way, it only took him 48 hours to come up with a statement. you would hope that as president he could respond to a disaster a little quicker than that. >> and actually, i found myself in the middle of it getting lost as i was reading it. it was not exactly the clearest statement on fema. but this is a guy who said you could actually do all this from the private sector. never mind return it to state governments, but actually the private sector. he envisions what? the bain recovery corporation that you hire when you have a flood in your state to come in and fix things? >> it is a terrifying thought. and it is the one thing that i actually believe mitt romney really believes in.
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his undying, unyielding faith in the private sector to solve every problem. and the only time when he denies that is when faced with the reality of a massive crisis that obviously requires federal government response so that everybody impacted is taken care of, not just the people who can afford to pay into the bain capital recovery system. >> there's a "huffington post" poll out today that asked the question, should the federal government provide assistance for communities impacted by natural disasters or should disaster relief be left to state and local governments? in other words, 14 we do it the way we do it or should we do it the romney way? and it's really impressive. the -- only 37% of republicans agree with romney in this poll. that's the 37% you see of republicans who think state and local should carry the whole burden. richard, the romney position as happily described by him during those republican primaries, he just can't speak a word of that
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right now. >> the natural disaster they're looking at are those numbers. and that's why he's doing these flip-flops right now. when you are in an election that is separated by one or two points in pretty much all the critical states and your opponent is getting 78% approval, 78% approval, for his behavior on a national stage just a few days before an election, that's a political disaster. never mind the natural one that everyone else is suffering. >> many republicans concerned about this chris christie embrace of president obama, which makes perfect sense from a governing standpoint. >> sure. >> rush limbaugh thinks he's got it all figured out. let's listen to rush on this. >> is it possible obama called christie and said you want some money? you'd better let me come. so what if obama called him and wants to make money contingent on it? christie wouldn't reveal that. i'm trying to be charitable here, folks.
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>> let's just talk about his impression of obama. actually, can we rerun that just to the part where rush is doing his impression of barack obama saying you want some money? can we just do that? >> is it possible obama called christie and said, you want some money? you want some -- you'd better let me come. so what if obama wants to call and make money contingent on it? christie wouldn't reveal that. >> he needs help. >> okay. that is -- that's officially the worst obama impression ever done. >> unbelievable. >> it was like goodfellas for a minute. which part -- he's ridiculous. he needs help. >> i'd love to hear previous limbaugh episodes where he is effusively praising chris christie. apparently now he thinks chris christie is the type of guy who can just be bullied into doing whatever effusively on multiple occasions. i mean, i don't think anyone can look at the chris christie statements and not feel that
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they are at least in part genuine. and yes, the president's incentives and chris christie's political incentives align on this, but i think there is a very genuine sense of gratitude at how the president has handled this crisis. >> but richard, when you see a lot of the crazy elements we see in polling on the right wing in america, it's explained by that nut, who we were just watching, and his notion of how government works. i think he actually believes that that is something close to a real scene in american government, what he just described. >> look, he's suffering from many things. among them obama derangement syndrome. but the really painful thing for i think ideologues like him is that they try to argue about government and right-sizing, downsizing, whatever they like. when real people see the images out of new jersey, they think of the indelible images of government failure after katrina. that's what people are reminded of. that's when you had a president and a federal government that
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did not work, did not come to the aid of people. so you don't have to talk about the bush legacy. you don't have to draw the comparison because it's right there in people's heads. in the case of our dear friend on radio, what's left of his head is clearly exploding. >> ideologue is the kindest thing said about rush limbaugh on my show. richard wolffe always keeps it classy. richard wolffe and krystal ball. thank you both very much for joining us tonight. coming up, mitt romney actually tells the crowd in ohio he knows all about hurricane cleanup, because this is absolutely true, this is what he told them, he once had to help clean up the football field after a football game when he was in high school. seriously. that's his experience with cleanup. and that's in the "rewrite." and with the election just six days away, will voters across the northeast be able to actually vote on election day? will the hurricane problem still be going on? that's coming up.
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mitt romney pretended to try to do something for the victims of the hurricane yesterday, but it was a complete fraud run by the romney campaign. we will expose that fraud in tonight's "rewrite." and next, we'll have the state of the race with the new battleground state polls. we will have nate silver's
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latest numbers, which just came out minutes ago. all of that is next. ♪ [ male announcer ] why do more emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve. locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. now...guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
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we have expanded the map, that we are closer in more states than we have been ever before. and we have more opportunities than we have ever before. we feel like we're in a very, very good place with one week to go. >> a new marquette university law school poll shows president obama has opened up an eight-point lead in paul ryan's home state of wisconsin. 51-43. a new quinnipiac/"new york times"/cbs news swing state poll shows president obama leading in ohio with likely voters 50% to 45%. a tighter race in virginia. president obama in 49%. mitt romney at 47% which is a statistical tie within the poll's 3% margin of error. and in florida that poll has president obama at 48% and mitt romney at 47%. another statistical tie. tonight, nate silver of "the new york times" 538 blog forecasts
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on november 6th president obama will win 300 electoral college votes. and mitt romney will win 238. and president obama's chance of re-election ticked up tonight in nate silver's calculations to 78.4%. and finally, george w. bush has entered the presidential campaign. he did that today when he was dragged into it by his little brother in florida. >> do you honestly think that this president is capable of bringing people together? his entire strategy is to blame others. starting with my brother, of course. basically, he blames every possible thing, rather than having the humility to be able to reach out and define common ground. >> and the fight over who is the real friend of the auto industry continued today. >> the facts, they speak for themselves. president obama took gm and chrysler into bankruptcy.
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taxpayers still stand to lose $25 billion from the president's politically managed bankruptcy. these companies, chrysler in particular, we know their story, are now choosing to expand manufacturing overseas. these are the facts. >> remember the president talked about romnesia? well, it's contagious. congressman ryan. congressman ryan's caught it. let me tell you the facts. congressman ryan voted with us. he voted in the congress with us. >> joining me now, msnbc's joy reid and robert reich, former clinton labor secretary, university of california at berkeley economics professor, and author of "beyond outrage." joy reid, do you know florida? has no one told jeb bush this thing about his brother's lack of popularity with the american public? >> poor jeb keeps trying. he tried it at the convention too. he just tries to slip george in there every so often.
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>> you can't blame a brother, though. >> he loves his brother. you know, he keeps trying to get him back on the stage, and republicans keep saying no, thanks, we don't need him. it's also interesting. i wonder if jeb has seen that memo that came out from republican party operatives about the sort of panic attack they're having about the state of florida. they are losing the early vote ground game right now. they are actually very worried, particularly looking at places like palm beach, which is a democratic-leaning county, but where republicans usually have a decided advantage in absentees. they send them out to a lot of elderly folks. this time democrats have closed that gap and closed it fast in terms of absentee and they're already winning the early vote game. so if you're looking at states where republicans should have already secured their base, places like north carolina and florida, they should already have put away, when you hear expanding the map like what you played back in that clip, expanding the map is what you do when you've already won your must-win states and now you're expanding it beyond that to states that you can now pick up that are non-traditional. that's what barack obama did after he won his must-win states
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like illinois or pennsylvania. republicans haven't secured ohio. they haven't secured virginia. they haven't even secured north carolina. you can't expand the map until you secure the map. >> let's get to this auto industry fight. we have two new polls out of michigan tonight. a detroit news/wdiv poll shows president obama leading 48% to 45%, which is within the poll's 3.78 margin of error. but a new "detroit free press"/wxyz poll has president obama leading by six points, 48% to 42%. now, half of those polled said that the rescue of gm and chrysler was a deciding factor in their support and 2/3 of those people backed president obama. robert reich, it seems like michigan voters have figured out who they want to give credit to for the auto bailout. >> yes, they have. although romney and ryan are doing everything they possibly can, lawrence, to confuse voters, to dissemble, to claim
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credit for the bailout, to actually say, believe it or not, and unfortunately some people believe big lies when they're told over and over again, that romney was in favor of the bailout and that somehow, by some stretch of the imagination the president is responsible for shrinking chrysler and shrinking gm and sending the jobs out to china. that's actually what they are saying right now. i mean, it takes lies to a new height of prevarication. >> let's listen to the help president obama's getting on in from colin powell. >> he served america as a four-star general, as secretary of state. here's colin powell on cbs. >> lu endorse president obama? >> yes. when he took over, we were in one of the worst recessions we have seen in recent times, close to a depression. the fiscal system was collapsing. wall street was in chaos. and we were in very difficult straits. and i saw over the next several
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years stabilization come back in the financial community. housing is starting to pick up. consumer confidence is rising. the president saved the auto industry. i also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war. and the actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid. i think we ought to keep on the track that we are on. >> joy, if team obama had written a script for colin powell for an ad, it couldn't be better than that. it's an amazingly compact and full case for the president. >> yeah, absolutely. and colin powell is one of the few bush administration figures who retained a strong measure of popularity. by the way, he's the only probably republican that could take away a third of the black vote immediately, were he to run for president. so it's an incredibly big endorsement. just as much as the chris christie sort of bromance thing that's happening with the president helps barack obama's brand. but no doubt. and i can tell you that if you talk to democrats about who they most thought would be their most
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formidable challenger before this election started, it would have been mitt romney in part because he theoretically puts michigan in play. his father was very popular. very popular with african-americans. he ran american motors. romney rejecting the bailout of general motors was such a colossal blunder politically because it took away any possibility that he could flip that state red. there's just no chance. >> robert reich, the bureau of labor statistics has decided it will be able to come out with a jobs report on friday, that the storm will not prevent them from doing that. what are you looking for in the new numbers? >> i expect about 125,000 new jobs, lawrence. about 7.8%, 7.9% unemployment. not much of a change. i think, though, that the numbers are going to look a little bit better than we saw last month because the overall trend is slightly in a positive direction. now, it's not dramatic. but as long as it continues in a generally positive direction, the president's point has much more credibility, that he is improving the situation.
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why take a risk with mitt romney, who over and over again shows he doesn't know what he's talking about? >> joy reid and robert reich, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, another one of team romney's frauds has been exposed. and we have video of mitt romney at his very silliest in tonight's "rewrite." and the mechanics of next week's election in the wake of the hurricane. how and where will people vote? that's coming up. make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see? cause c-max has lots more horsepower than prius v, a hybrid that c-max also bests in mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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from the beginning. it's what they've always done. not just something they cheap about. that's insurance for the modern world. esurance. now backed by allstate. click or call. what i can promise you is the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials and we will not quit until this is done. >> we're going to box these things up in just a minute and put them on some trucks, and then we're going to send them into i think it's new jersey is a site that we've identified that can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them. >> oh, it's hard out there for a presidential candidate who is utterly irrelevant to the massive relief effort president obama is running in the aftermath of this week's historic storm. because the desperate and shameless romney campaign believes it cannot win the
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election without winning ohio, team romney pushed their poor candidate out onto a stage in ohio yesterday because the storm was still in progress in some states and the death count was climbing in new york and elsewhere. traditional political decency dictated that mitt romney not be caught campaigning yesterday. and so team romney hastily rewrote a campaign event into a "non-campaign storm relief effort." thanks to buzzfeed reporter mckay coppins we now know exactly how they did that. buzzfeed reports, "the night before the event campaign aides went to a local walmart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer."
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as supporters lined up to greet the candidate, "a young volunteer in a romney/ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, you need a donation to get in line. empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, what if we dropped off our donations up front? the volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. just grab something, he said. two teenaged boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each and got in line. when it was their turn, they handed their donations to romney. he took them, smiled, and offered an earnest thank you." before romney took the stage, a ten-minute campaign video that debuted at the republican national convention was played for the crowd. >> an extraordinary chief
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executive officer. i know he understands the economy. >> he's uniquely qualified to get our economy moving again. >> takes control. >> not a stuffed shirt guy. >> charismatic. >> he is rock solid. >> authentic leader. >> he knows he's one of the guys that can do what it takes to turn this country around. >> as reported here last night, romney campaign chief strategist stuart stevens explained the use of the video this way -- "i don't know what happened. some volunteer just pressed play, i guess." by the time mitt romney was doing this fake disaster relief event, he knew that he was not welcome anywhere near the real disaster zone. he learned that the hard way that morning on "fox and friends." >> is there any possibility that governor romney may go to new jersey to tour some of the damage with you?
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>> i have no idea, nor am i the least bit concerned or interested. >> right. >> i've got a job to do here in new jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics. if you think right now i give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me. >> yesterday mitt romney was surely still hoping he too would get to ride around in a helicopter with chris christie and be asked his advice on how to help the people of new jersey who've lost their homes and in some cases lost everything they own and in tragic cases lost loved ones. and so at yesterday's fake disaster relief event in ohio mitt romney tried to show chris christie that he knew a whole lot, an awful lot about how to help out new jersey. >> i remember once we had a football game at my high school and the football field afterwards was covered with all sorts of rubbish and paper goods
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from people who'd had a big celebration there at the game. and there was a group of us that was assigned to clean it up. and i thought, how are we going to clean up all the mess on this football field? there were just a few of us. and the person responsible for organizing the effort said, just line up along the yard lines. you go between the goal line and the 10 yard line. and the next person between 10 and 20. and then just walk through and do your lane. and if everybody cleans their lane, we'll be able to get the job done. and so today we're cleaning one lane, if you will. >> no, no, no, mitt. you're not cleaning anything. and america knows it.
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well, only six days until election. voters in some east coast communities hit by the storm are asking where they can vote. a number of polling stations in new jersey and new york are still without power in in some cases flooded. election officials in the jersey shore towns say it could take another five days to fully assess the damage and figure out a plan for election day. according to fema director craig
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fugate, the federal government will reimburse any costs states assume to get voting locations up and running. while congress does actually have the authority to change the election day, no presidential election in the history of the nation has ever been postponed. joining me now, dorian warren, assistant professor of political science at columbia university and a fellow at the roosevelt institute in new york. dorian, what problems do we see from the storm, first of all? >> so in many places that are devastated by the storm there is no indication that those polling -- those polling places will be open on tuesday, much less -- >> well, in the video we're seeing they don't exist. i mean, there are some coastal polling places no doubt in new jersey and on long island that no longer exist. >> yes. that's right. although new jersey and new york and connecticut are reliably blue states. they're not swing states. >> yeah. it won't affect the electoral college and it won't affect the outcome.
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it could affect, since the votes favor president obama it could affect the national vote total in an election where there's some concern he could end up with an electoral college win and not win the popular vote. especially new york votes are going to matter. >> that's right. it could affect the popular vote. although as you know we don't directly elect the president, it's through the electoral college. so in that sense virginia becomes very important because it was a state that was hit by the hurricane, although not as bad as new jersey and new york. and it's not clear -- >> and that's an important swing state. we don't know which way it's going to go. >> exactly. and the polls are very close there. and it's unclear if the state will be able to have all of the polling locations up and going by tuesday. they probably will. but it is a concern, i think, that we should raise. >> and it slowed down early voting in virginia, didn't it? >> that's right. there's early voting by absentee in person. so not early voting, say, like in ohio but by absentee in person. it's a complicated process. it probably won't have that much effect on the final outcome as
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long as polls are open on tuesday. >> and we do have new developments in ohio we should be talking about tonight. that secretary of state, the republican secretary of state out there, is doing everything it seems he possibly can to try to help the romney ticket. >> this is why down ballot races are important. the secretary of state of ohio could end up deciding this election. and he has tried to use every tactic in his arsenal to restrict the vote. he first tried to end early voting for the three days before election day. and we know there's a disproportionate number of black voters that voted those three days before election day in 2008. he lost on that. the supreme court refused to hear the case. and today he actually just had a small victory where an appellate court argued that he can, that provisional ballots cast at the wrong polling place might not count. >> including situations where it isn't the voter's fault where they've actually been given the wrong information by poll workers. >> that's exactly right. so again, it's a way to restrict the vote and to throw out votes
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